Data collected from King Tide to help learn extent of flooding in Hampton Roads

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — King Tide was here. It’s one of the highest tides of the year in the Fall when the moon is closest to the earth.

Executive Director of Wetland’s Watch, Skip Stiles, says the waters peaked around 11 a.m.

“Normally with a King Tide the water would be about a foot higher. With the wind from the north we’re getting today, it’ll probably be about two feet higher,” said Stiles.

He says a lot can be learned from this event. Each year since 2017 when the King Tide comes, they host the Catch the King Citizen Science Event where volunteers gather data about flooding.

“We’re basically mapping where the King Tide goes, we’re mapping where the flooding goes,” stated Stiles.

Volunteers use a Sea Level Rise app on their phones to leave GPS pins that mark how high the water is at its peak. From there, researchers and scientists can use that information for studies and flood mitigation plans.

“Researchers, what they’re able to do is test their models out they’re predicting where the water is going to go, this helps them prove it. For planners like the city of Norfolk, it tells them this area floods and it floods exactly in this space so when we fix it, we’ve got to fix it, so we cover all that area,” Stiles explained.

Stiles says not much has changed about the high tide over the past few years, but they have a lot more data on the extent of flooding than before. In the future, he hopes to expand the measurements outside Hampton Roads.

“There are teams on the northern neck, a couple along the Potomac River, our goal is we’re having the app rebuilt in a couple of weeks. We want to take it out in the rural coastal areas because they need mapping to put their plans together,” said Stiles.

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